What You Need to Know About UV Safety

sunshine and clouds rsz 300x200 What You Need to Know About UV Safety PhotoJuly is UV Safety Month. As we’ve reached the summer solstice, it’s important to be aware of the harmful UV rays that are currently at their peak. Understanding what UV rays are, why they can be dangerous, and how to protect yourself is the best way you can keep your skin healthy (and your eyes too!). Keep reading for answers to some common questions about UV safety:

What are UV rays?

UV, or Ultraviolet Radiation, is invisible radiation emitted from the sun and tanning beds. These rays are the main cause of the sun’s damaging effects on the skin.

How do UV rays affect my skin?

UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes, penetrating and changing the the DNA of your skin cells. Once this damage affects the DNA of the genes that control skin cell growth, skin cancer can start to form. UV rays also age your skin cells, which in time causes wrinkles.

When is UV exposure at its highest?

There are a few factors that affect UV strength, the most well known being time of day, time of year, and amount of cloud cover. UV rays are strongest from 10am-4pm during spring and summer months. The closer you live to the equator, the higher the UV rays will be no matter what time of year. You can check the risk for our exposure to UV rays in your area with the the National Weather Service and the Environmental Protection Agency UV index tool.

What can I do to protect myself from harmful UV rays?

There are 4 easy things you can do to protect yourself from UV rays:

  1. Cover up with clothing
  2. Wear sunscreen
  3. Put on a hat
  4. Put on a pair of sunglasses

Obviously the best way you can protect yourself from UV rays is to avoid being in direct sunlight. If you are outside, stay in shady areas or avoid prolonged exposure to the sun if you can’t find shade. Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before heading outside and remember, the higher the SPF the more protection you have from UVB rays. It’s recommended you wear at least SPF 30 and reapply every two hours.

If you notice any skin discoloration or abnormalities make sure you visit a dermatologist to have it evaluated.